LaMarcus Aldridge will miss at least two games after suffering a back contusion when he took a hard fall during Portland's 103-90 road loss to San Antonio on Wednesday.The Blazers announced Thursday that Aldridge is expected to miss games against the Pelicans (in New Orleans on Friday) and Warriors (in Portland on Sunday), and that he will be reevaluated next week before he is cleared for a return to the court.
File this one under "It could have been worse." Aldridge sustained the injury less than a minute into the second half against the Spurs when he drove into the paint. Aron Baynes slid underneath him in an attempt to draw a charging foul, and the contact knocked Aldridge off balance, sending him crashing to the court. After landing directly on his back, Aldridge had to be helped to the locker room and he did not return to the game, departing with 14 points (on 6-for-11 shooting) and four rebounds.
The nasty fall left Portland shaken.
"When a guy takes a a tough fall like that, when you're airborne, you just don't know what can happen you land," coach Terry Stotts said, according to Blazers.com. "The longer he stayed down, you just don't know."
A post-game X-ray and a subsequent MRI both confirmed that Aldridge didn't suffer additional damage aside from the contusion.
Aldridge, 28, is averaging a career-high 23.4 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists and was selected to his third All-Star Game this season. Back in February, he missed five games with a groin injury, and he's struggled with his shot and timing since returning to the court.
Stotts will turn to reserve forwards Dorell Wright and Thomas Robinson, as well as reserve center Meyers Leonard, to fill the void left by Aldridge's absence. Wright earned the starting nod during Aldridge's absence last month.
The Blazers, losers of four straight games, also announced Thursday that reserve guard Mo Williams will be sidelined for at least two weeks with a right hip strain. Rookie guard C.J. McCollum and second-year guard Will Barton will pick up the slack in the backcourt. After a strong start to the season, Portland now sits in the West's No. 5 position, with Golden State just 1.5 games behind them. The team held a players-only meeting following Wednesday's loss to the Spurs in hopes of righting the ship.